The Equifax Data Breach: What Does It Mean for You?

It appears we hear of new data breaches every day. From Arby’s to Saks Fifth Avenue, in 2017 alone there were 27 before the recent breach at Equifax. What differentiates Equifax from the other entities is that Equifax is one of the three largest credit agencies in the U.S. It is unsettling, to say the least, but there are steps you can take to protect your information:

Check to see if your information was compromised.

Equifax has set up a site dedicated to helping consumers determine if the breach has put their information at risk — www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — and is offering all consumers one free year of their TrustedID Premier program. They have also clarified the language in the terms of use that led to confusion regarding consumers’ right to file suit against Equifax with acceptance of this free service:

“The arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the TrustedID Premier Terms of Use apply to the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products, and not the cybersecurity incident.”

Always closely monitor your credit card statements.

If your information was compromised, call your credit card companies and inquire as to whether they recommend changing account numbers and/or issuing new cards.

Review your credit report.

AnnualCreditReport.com provides one free credit report per year.

Consider freezing your credit

The Federal Trade Commission has provided these guidelines regarding a credit freeze. A credit freeze does not:

  • Prevent you from getting your free annual credit report.
  • Keep you from opening a new account, applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying insurance. However, if you are doing any of these, you will need to lift the freeze temporarily, either for a specific time or a specific party, say, a potential landlord or employer. The cost and lead times to lift a freeze vary, so it is best to check with the credit reporting company in advance.
  • Prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. You still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.

Equifax is currently waiving their credit freeze fee. Each of the three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – charge between $5-$10.

The Nuclear Option

If you do find yourself affected by this data breach to the point of identity theft or other life-altering implications, you can file for a new Social Security Number.

There is nothing pleasant about any of these activities but please take a moment and do your due diligence for your protection. We are also available if you have any questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Tax Limits

2017 Tax Limits

Minimum Wage:
Federal:  $7.25
PA: $7.25
NJ: $8.44

Minimum Wage with Tips:
Federal:  $2.13
PA:  $2.83
NJ: $2.13

FICA:
Maximum earnings:  $127,200
Employer percentage: 6.2%
Maximum Deduction: $7,886.40
Self-Employment Tax: 12.4%
Employee percentage: 6.2%
Maximum Deduction: $7,886.40

Medicare:
Employee/Employer percentage: 1.45%
Wages Paid in excess of $200,000: additional employee tax of 0.9%
Self-Employment Tax: 2.90%

FUTA:
Rate: 6.0%
Maximum credit: 5.4%
Normal net tax: 0.6%
Maximum Earnings: $7,000.00

PA State Tax:
State percentage: 3.07%
Philadelphia Resident: 3.9004%
Philadelphia Non-resident: 3.4741%
Local jurisdictions: as applicable

PA SUI:
Employee percentage: .07%
Employer percentage: contribution rates vary by employer
Maximum Earnings: $9,750.00

401(k) Limits:
Annual elective deferral limit: $18,000
“Catch-up” contribution limit: $6,000 (must be 50 years old by the end of the plan year)

Simple IRA Limits:
Annual elective deferral limit: $12,500
“Catch-up” contribution limit: $3,000 (must be 50 years old by the end of the plan year)

Mileage allowance:
Business purposes: 53.5 cents/mile
Charitable purposes: 14 cents/mile
Medical purposes: 17 cents/mile
Moving purposes: 17 cents/mile

Important Dates

Legend

^ National Holiday – Canon Capital/most banks are closed. Allow an extra day for direct deposit services.
* National Holiday Observed – Canon Capital will be closed.  Some banks are open.
+ National Holiday – Most banks are closed. Allow an extra day for direct deposit services.

Calendar Year 2017

^ New Year’s Day – January 1
* Observance of New Year’s Day – January 2
+ Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday – January 16
+ President’s Day – February 20
^ Memorial Day – May 29
^ Independence Day – July 4
^ Labor Day – September 4
+ Columbus Day – October 9
+ Veterans Day – November 11
^ Thanksgiving Day – November 23
^ Christmas Day – December 25

Useful Payroll Links

Find your municipality and tax rate:
munstats.pa.gov/Public/FindMunicipality.aspx

PSD Codes
PSD_CODES_-_2-3-11PUB_3.pdf

American Payroll Association:
americanpayroll.org

IRS – home page:
irs.gov

IRS – forms & publications:
irs.gov/Forms-&-Pubs

Social Security Administration:
ssa.gov

Immigration and Naturalization Service
uscis.gov

Department of Labor:
dol.gov

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry:
dli.state.pa.us

New Jersey Department of Revenue:
state.nj.us/treasury/taxation

Pennsylania Department of Revenue:
revenue.state.pa.us

Berkheimer Associates (Local tax adminstrator):
hab-inc.com

Philadelphia Deparment of Revenue:
phila.gov/revenue/Pages/default.aspx

Department of Community and Economic Development
dced.pa.gov

Keystone Collections Group
keystonecollects.com

Berks Earned Income Tax Bureau
berkseit.com

Succession Planning

Handing over your business to family members successfully can mean the difference between being financially sound for life or losing the value of many years of hard work and effort.

More than 70 percent of family-owned businesses do not survive the transition from founder to second generation. Rather, they fall prey to either the estate tax or family discord. Developing and implementing a well-designed plan is essential to the long-term success of the business you’ve grown and developed from the very beginning.

Succession planning also applies irrespective of whether you have family members looking to take over the business. One day you are going to need to exit the business, through retirement or sale. Succession planning covers the key steps to prepare the business for that moment.

In the event of selling the business to an outside purchase, Canon Capital can manage that process for and with you, as that can be an arduous undertaking.

It’s important to keep this concept in mind: Ultimately, for your business to truly be a realizable asset for you, you need to constantly be working on it with a view to selling it sometime in the future. Whether you do sell it or not is irrelevant. Keeping that frame of mind means that at least you will always be in a position to sell it and realize its true value, if you should ever want or need to.

That focus gives you a greater awareness of the need to systematize your business and make it less dependent on you. People want to buy businesses that work, not businesses that are run by people that work and work and work. Succession planning then is an ongoing, ever improving process and is just as much about working ON your business as planning for the future.

Useful CPA Links and Resources

Our most current peer review results

Customer File Upload – Use this link to send a file directly to Canon Capital.

IRS NEWSTAND – News releases and fact sheets from the Internal Revenue Service

IRS Tax information for individuals and businesses – Find the status of your refund, IRS phone numbers, withholding calculator, and more…

 

The link below contains financial and tax calculators for items such as mortgages, home equity, autos, stocks, mutual funds, retirement and LOTS more.

  • Financial Calculators
    Note
    : All calculators are provided by a 3rd party and are provided here as a reference tool only. The accuracy of these calculators and their applicability to your circumstances is not guaranteed. You should obtain personal advice from one of our qualified professionals.